Sport as Practice of Remembrance

In his paper on graveyard commemoration of sport celebrities, Huggins argues that “memorials say something about the perceived personal identity of the commemorated sporting hero.”[1] As such, the gravestone and the memorial might say more about the patron(s) than the athlete. They emerge from and are expression of discourses about gender, power, class, religion, and fame. In particular the tomb of the boxer Tom Sayers functions as “an assertive expression of heightened working-class sporting status”[2]. This project will use the material-visual object of Sayers’ tomb as a starting point to reflect on sports and remembrance. It will not offer a detailed discussion of Sayers’ tomb as a single case study but use his tomb and the meanings attached to it to analyze a broader phenomenon: sport as practice of remembrance which manifests itself in a range of sporting practices and material practices.

[1] Huggins, Mike: “Gone but not forgotten: sporting heroes, heritage and graveyard commemoration”, in: Rethinking History 16:4, 2012, 479-495, 485. DOI: 10.1080/13642529.2012.697261

[2] Ibid. 487.